There are dog lovers and then there are dog lovers.
Like the people who will eat a hot dog because it's all that's available at the moment.
I once took a date to City Dogs, only to have him say to m, "Seriously?"
And then there are the people who actively seek out good dogs.
So when a fellow dog lover invited me to lunch today, I immediately suggested the new A2, a Japanese cafe in the heart of downtown and full of suits.
The sleek interior with a very long bar belied the simple set-up and we soon realized that you ordered in the back and waited for your food to be delivered to you on whichever sleek table you'd chosen.
A personable woman behind the counter caught our eye and said, "Let me break it down for you."
There were a selection of entrees, two bento dogs of the day and a host of sides.
Since one of today's dogs was actually tempura-fried chicken in a hot dog bun, we both opted for the real dog.
It was the sea dog, a grilled hot dog with spicy Japanese mayo, seaweed salad, fish roe and tempura batter crumbles.
And while I'm not usually one for green on my dog, I am a huge fan of seaweed salad.
My buddy got a side of Asian vegetables (actually an entree, but he paid extra for it to be his side) while I chose one of four varieties of fries, the shichimi, promised to me as spicy and garlicky.
While we waited for our food, we struck up a conversation with a woman who'd just moved here from Las Vegas and wanted restaurant recommendations.
Easily done by two rabid eaters like us.
Our dogs arrived, colorful with the green seaweed and the orange roe and perfectly delicious, no matter how unlikely the combination sounds.
The fries were just as interesting, not salty but addicting, no doubt because of the shichimi, known as seven flavor chili pepper.
Best of all, the side of fries was just that, a side, and not an overwhelming mound of fried potatoes.
No need to induce a food coma for business types, I guess.
The place was hopping, no doubt attractive to people on a prescribed lunch hour.
And while I certainly didn't have any time restrictions, by the time we'd downed our dogs, my friend had missed five calls, so I felt guilty keeping him any longer.
Brushing some errant roe off my sweater, we walked out into the sunny afternoon, the owner holding the door open for me as another gaggle of suits walked in.
You'd never be able to tell from the outside, but I have to assume that they were dog lovers, too.